Monday, April 1, 2013

CMW 2013 | Interview with: Emily Reid
Kicking off my Canadian Music Week hecticness, I had the pleasure of chatting with Emily Reid, a talented singer-songwriter who is originally from Victoria, BC, but has been living in Nashville. Her bubbly and positive personality was refreshing and our interview in the Marriott Hotel lounge was very casual and laid-back - or maybe that's just a west coast thing we've got going on haha. We talked about her current tour, making the move down south, and her songwriting inspiration.

She was playing at CMW for the first time and she was excited to get more involved in the Canadian music scene. She played two showcases, one at Annex Live on March 20th and another the following night at Tattoo Rock Parlour. I was able to check out the second show.

Check out a bit from our interview:

For someone who hasn’t heard your music yet, how would you describe it to them?

Emily Reid: I would describe it as Northwestern indie pop meets the fusion and class of Nashville.

You released your debut album this past August – can you tell me a bit about what went into the making of it? 
ER: So basically it was a chronology of all my experiences my first two years of college. All the songs I wrote, all the heartbreak I went through and all the struggles of being from Victoria and being transplanted into the south. It was the journey of me getting situated in a new country and a new environment. It was really cool to take all the friends that I had made - and everyone is so freaking talented - and we just came together and made a great first album. We did six songs with two friend producers and four songs with another set of producers and mixed it all to sound the same.

Being from Victoria, how has the west coast influenced you as a musician?
ER: I think it’s just in who I am. I’m 100% a west coast girl in my carefree, chill nature. And that sort of plays into my songwriting. But going to Nashville and classing it up and understanding the true intricacies of music and all that goes into it has really made a really interesting blend of the carefree and serious.

What was it like to make that transition from Victoria to Nashville?

ER: I found the school, called Belmont University, at the back of a Rolling Stones magazine. I was in grade 11 and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in life, but I loved music. And the program was music business and it totally caught my eye. I literally applied and went and didn’t even think about it. I didn’t know Nashville was what it was. I was totally in way over my head. It was a super strict southern college and I thought, what have I got myself into. But it ended up working for the best.

Emily Reid at Tattoo Rock Parlour | Christina Dun
When did you discover that music was your ‘thing?’
ER: My whole life, I was always that nerdy music kid. I was in every choir, in every band. I couldn’t play sports to save my life. Put a soccer ball in front of my feet and I’d trip and fall, die, break my nose, it’s so embarrassing. So I was super involved in the musicals and I always managed to write songs. It’s just something I’ve been able to do ever since I was five or six. I’d sit at the piano and write on coloured pieces of paper and store them on my shelves and my dad would find them, read them and tell me that I can’t just quit this and have to keep it up. So it followed me my whole life.  And when I got to Nashville, I had friends in commercial voice or songwriting and I’d hear their songs and hear them sing and I thought, wow, I can do this too. I may be good enough and have the potential to do this.
Once I got turned onto this, I just couldn’t stop and I thought, okay this is going to be the path for the next little while.

You just came from SXSW, how was that experience?
ER: It was so great. I’m 21 and I would never have imagined that I’d be playing SXSW on my own with my own music at that time in my life. We played at the rooftop of Whole Foods at the Whole Foods headquarters and it was such a cool dream experience. I’ve only been at it for a year and these things are happening and it’s just so cool. I couldn’t have asked for more, it’s just awesome.

How has the tour been going so far?
ER: It’s been super great. We’ve done it all ourselves, which is a lot of work but it’s so much fun. I get really sick of being in the car with three boys, but it’s really really fun.

Emily Reid @ Tattoo Rock Parlour | Christina Dun
What are you doing to stand out from other musicians?
ER: I work my ass off. I work really hard night and day and really believe in the power of a song and really believe in the power of music. I think that anyone who works hard at anything will be successful, whatever it is you want to do, as long as you are all in it, guns a-blazing. I just don’t think people can be stopped. And also, just trying to create. Every time I write a song it has to be better than the song before, and not settling and really flushing out my craft. And I know I won’t be my best person and write my best song until I’m 60, but focusing on writing the best song I can now.

Where do you get your songwriting inspiration?
ER: It’s cheesy to say, but love and those challenges of relationships. And I’ve also found my niche is that I was a little bit of a wilder younger girl, when I was 18/19 in high school. I grew up really fast and capitalizing on those hard girl experiences of wanting to be loved and by wanting to fit in. And then my friends going through those things that I went through at a younger age, and writing songs for them. My close relationships affect my writing the most.

Dream collaborations?
ER: I would love to open for just about everyone. I want be an opener on a Feist tour. I want to be an opener on an Ingrid Michaelson tour. Those are my dreams. And I’d love to write with everyone but I want to keep Emily and just keep getting better at being Emily. But I want to open for literally everybody. Just let me be on your tour and I’ll go with you.

Emily Reid at Tattoo Rock Parlour | Christina Dun
How would you describe your live performance?
ER: It’s super positive and really fun. It’s really genuine and heartfelt. It’s like taking me and just letting my energy out. I’m a super hyper, off the walls kind of person. And the band, because we’ve been playing together for such a long time is really tight. And they all have their own character and it’s just so much fun.

I love the music video you did for ‘The River,’ it looked like a lot of fun – can you tell me a bit about the filming of it?
ER: You only live once, so I really wanted to do a music video. You have to these days. And my friends are these amazing videographers who have their own company. My concept was all my friends in my backyard having a party. So we got a keg of beer, had a bbq and decorated my whole backyard and filmed it. But you’ll never believe this, that whole day it rained, I’m talking downpour Nashville torrential rain. I was like what are we going to do? It literally stopped raining from 4 until 8:30, and then it started to downpour again. It was like the skies opened up, so it worked out really well. It was so fun and how it all should be. Music is fun and about connecting with people.

Do you have a moment you’re most proud of so far in your career?
ER: I’m proud to just be here and I’m proud to just say that this is what I want to do because it took me a long time to admit that I really want to be an artist and a songwriter. I’m just proud to stand on my own two feet and know that this is what I want to do. And to all the things coming is just a by-product of hard work and luck.

For more details on upcoming performances, be sure to check out

- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28

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